NL WOMAN: Super-charge those healthy habits

Boost your exercise regime
Boost your exercise regime

Think you’re already nailing those healthy living goals? Those good habits could still benefit from a boost, says NL WOMAN

This time of year is all about setting goals - but what if you’re already ticking those healthy-eating and lifestyle boxes?

If that’s the case, perhaps 2016 could be the year to push yourself a little harder. Not too hard of course; that would be counter-productive, and this is all about making yourself healthier and happier, not going to extremes. However, a few little tweaks could make all the difference.

Here are seven ways to make those healthy habits even healthier...

YOU’RE ALREADY: Running round the park

HOW ABOUT: Signing up for a 10k

Regularly jogging Around the park is great for your heart and lungs, but having a goal to work towards - so you begin increasing your mileage and monitoring your progress - does wonders for boosting confidence, focusing your mind and developing your technique. Plus, if you run alone, consider joining a club or running with a friend instead. Making it social means more fun and less time spent thinking about how much your legs are burning.

YOU’RE ALREADY: Eating your greens

HOW ABOUT: Boosting your breakfast

Kale and cauliflower look set to stick around as our wonder veggies of choice this year (to be fair, they are pretty delicious), but don’t limit your greens intake to your evening meal. Breakfasts can be heavy on fruit, but it’s also wise to balance out those natural sugars with a handful of mineral and nutrient-rich spinach (apparently, swirled in porridge you won’t even be able to taste it).

YOU’RE ALREADY: Making big plans

HOW ABOUT: Not ignoring smaller ones

Making sure you have things to look forward to, from holidays to life-changing plans you want to tick off this year (buy a house/get married/have a baby), is great for keeping you on track emotionally, but don’t let these big things eclipse smaller day-to-day achievements, like finally hanging that painting, finishing a book you’d always meant to read or learning to cook something you’d never made before. These little moments can be just as important in terms of keeping your mental wellbeing and self-esteem levels topped up.

YOU’RE ALREADY: Lifting weights

HOW ABOUT: Trying out interval training

In 2015, personal trainers were particularly encouraging women to hit the weights room, to boost core strength and speed up metabolism. However, you could make your body work a whole lot harder, but for shorter periods, by incorporating short bursts of extreme activity - aka High-intensity Interval Training - into your routine. Davina McCall’s a fan and she is the queen of fitness. If it works for her...

YOU’RE ALREADY: Walking to work/into town

HOW ABOUT: Cycling instead

Walking to visit friends or carry out errands is certainly better for you than hopping in the car, but jumping on your bike instead is even better. Cycling engages almost all of the body’s key muscle groups without putting too much strain on joints - and it’ll get you places quicker than walking!

YOU’RE ALREADY: Avoiding processed foods

HOW ABOUT: Going for wholegrain staples

We all know the health benefits of cooking from scratch instead of opting for a supermarket curry or packaged lasagne ready meal. However, you can go one step further by swapping your regular white bread/pasta/rice for brown and wholegrain versions, increasing fibre and avoiding the refining process white foodstuffs go through as you do so.

YOU’RE ALREADY: Saying yes to everything

HOW ABOUT: Sometimes saying no too

With the start of the New Year, it’s great to be optimistic and up for every new challenge that comes your way, however, if you say yes to every opportunity and every invite, that positivity could give way to fatigue and stress. Preserve your energy and save it for activities and events that you’re really excited about. There’s nothing wrong with the odd night spent cosied up on the sofa - it’s still winter after all!